Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Aloha to the Maryland Vehicle Administation (MVA) - Driving into the Inferno

Aloha!  I recently experienced an epiphany ... I would like to write beyond book reviews and author promotions.  I would like to write humours musing of daily life.   Let's see if I can amuse you ...  

Last Saturday, we had a "free" morning - no youth bowling.  No scouting events.  I could have taken a long walk in the gorgeous sunshine.  Instead, I drove into the Inferno - my sixteen year old needed his learner's permit from the Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA).

Driving to the MVA, my mind kept flashing to the insurance commerical featuring a driver who grew a beard waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV).    

We dragged ourselves out of the house at 0-dark-hundred to stand in line.   In fact, we stood in line by the entrance with the sign, "Enter here for Driver's Licenses".  Our early arrival placed us fifth in line.   I thought this might not be so bad until I noticed drivers lining up in front of the other door.  I rechecked the sign, "Enter here for Driver's License".   Still, both lines grew long ... and then a uniformed MVA worker instructed my line to join the other line as the MVA only opens one door on the weekend.  This bumped me from 5th to 50th.   Hmm, this did not bode well.

Driving to Ka'ena Point - the leaping point for spirits on O'ahu

Once inside, another MVA worker pulled out the drivers exchanging tags.  They all seem to come behind us so my line did not grow shorter ... but longer as the tags went first.  So let's summarize to this point:

- Early morning
- Long line
- Wrong door
- And no book to read!

It couldn't get any worse, could it?  It did.   When it was finally our turn, I pulled out the required documents:

- birth certificate
- proof of residency
- Social Security Ccard

Er, no Social Security Card.  Although my son knew his number from memory, the agent needed to copy the card.   Naturally, I was polite .... er, you don't know me well. I transformed into a snarky person.  I asked why the MVA needed the card.  The agent replied it was State Law.  She should have stopped at that point but she added, "You also need a Social Security Card to buy a gun and board a plane. Without it, you might be placed on the DO NOT FLY list".   

Driving on the Big Island with active volcanoes

My son suggested that we leave but I asked to speak to a supervisor.   I soon explained that we followed the sign but waited in the long line to realize that I needed a social security card to drive, shoot, and fly.  I am fortunate that I had a calm supervisor who asked if I lived nearby.  When I responded yes, she suggested I retrieve the Social Security Card and come back to her.  She would direct me to another agent without having to stand in line again.   

Upon leaving the MVA, we spotted the Girl Scouts selling cookies.   We bought a box of Tagalongs - at this point only I was having a chocolate emergency.   We ate half the box on the drive back to my house.

With the Social Security Card in hand, we raced back to the MVA.   True to her word, the supervisor referred us to an available agent.  Once our paperwork was processed, my son took the test - 25 out of 25.  We celebrated by polishing off the box of Tagalongs.  Then I observed to my son, "You came here to take a test to prove you could read signs and yet the staff can't read their own signs."  Still, the supervisor demonstrated the Aloha Spirit and I did not.  

Care to share any stories from your adventures at the DMV?

And the adventure is just beginning as we start driving around the neighborhood!


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Vintage Truck at Kailua Beach

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Aloha to The Big Apple - Midtown and WICKED

For Day 2, we met friends at Macy's flagship store. 

The day was overcast, so I was glad we toured the Empire State Building the previous night which offered a clear view.

We walked up Fashion Avenue (Seventh Avenue) and spotted the Fashion Walk of Fame.

It was fate, then, that this beautiful young lady asked me for directions.   She is a model!  

Closer to Times Square, we found the less fashionable ...

... but still functionable.

We walked over to the Rockefeller Center ....

... home to the NBC Studios.

We didn't have time for the Rockettes ... maybe next trip.

New York is going green with Citi Bikes.

We ate lunch at a deli, including "French Toast" ....

... and strawberry pancakes!

We followed the Yellow Brick Road to WICKED (link) ...

... loved it!  After the show, we stopped in ELLEN'S STARDUST DINER (link) ....  

... famous for its milkshakes ... 

... and its singing staff, waiting to breakout on Broadway!

Do you have a favorite musical?


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Friday, March 21, 2014

Aloha to the Big Apple - Times Square and the Empire State Building

One of my college friends called me last week with an offer I could not refuse - a midweek trip to NYC to catch a Broadway show!   We arrived late Tuesday afternoon ... 

... and headed to Times Square for the bright lights!

We walked over to the Empire State Building.   Although the observation platform was mobbed with school tours, I squeezed through them to take  pictures.   Above is a view to the south where the Twin Towers once stood ...

... to the Northwest for a peek at Times Square ....

... and to the Northeast, featuring the Chrysler Building.

We walked back to Times Square up 5th Avenue, passing by the New York Public Library.

Have you visited NYC?


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Back in Times Square with the military

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Aloha to Philmont Training - Rockburn Branch Trail

 My older son, an Eagle Scout, is training for a 10 day hiking expedition this summer at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico (link).   The training includes monthly hikes in the local area to prepare for the long haul.   Back in November, his Philmont crew hiked the Rockburn Branch Trail (link):

Come and explore this 415-acre wooded paradise! Rockburn Branch Park offers 7.4 miles of trails that wind through scenic woodlands, freshwater marshes and stream valleys. In the streams, look for crayfish, minnows, water striders and dragonflies. 

Although I did not join the hike, I appreciate the pictures from one of the Scout dads - he gave me permission to share his photos.   I especially appreciate the waterfalls, reminded me of my beloved Hawaii.

The woods look serene ... 

... with suprises around each corner!   Do you a favorite walking trail?


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City